UPDATE: The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced Friday that eastbound lanes of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge would reopen at 10 p.m. Saturday, about 24 hours ahead of a schedule released earlier this week.
The westbound lanes may also open sooner than the scheduled date of Friday, TDOT said.
The agency said a contractor on the bridge was running ahead of schedule on the work.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced the I-40 Hernando Desoto Bridge will begin reopening under limited traffic starting next week.
On Monday, August 2, all eastbound lanes will open by 6 a.m. On Friday, all westbound lanes will open.
TDOT said they are opening one side at a time due to contractors still being on site finishing up the work. They are expected to have phase three done by Friday and will begin to breakdown their work site starting in the eastbound lanes.
Once completed, they will then do the same on the westbound side.
“The bridge remains an active work zone,” TDOT said in a news release Wednesday. “We ask motorists to pay attention to the interstate DMS, portable message boards, and SmartWay for specific traffic information.”
The announcement comes the same day the agency began load testing the I-40 Hernando Desoto Bridge on Wednesday. DOT’s Nicole Lawrence shared video of the testing to social media early Wednesday morning.
When asked why only one side of the bridge would be open at a time, Lawrence said, “We’re doing one side at a time for crews to be able to safely demobilize and clean up … we chose this way for the safety of the workers.”
Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless had announced the news Tuesday night in a post to his Facebook page.
The Hernando DeSoto Bridge carried nearly 40,000 vehicles on I-40 until it was shut down for repairs May 11 after inspectors found a large crack in a metal beam.